Saturday 25 November 2017

Stena Line axes Dun Laoghaire ferry service

Dublin Port favoured

Stena Line
Stena Line
Pól Ó Conghaile

Pól Ó Conghaile

Stena Line has confirmed that it will not resume its ferry service on the Dun Laoghaire to Holyhead route.

The seasonal service, which had been run on the HSS Stena Explorer between Dun Laoghaire and Wales since 1995, will not be resumed in 2015.

“With two services operating approx. 10 miles apart, we needed to make a decision in relation to what operation best serves the needs of our customers now and in the years ahead," said Ian Davies, Stena Line’s Route Manager for Irish Sea South.

"That operation is Dublin Port.”

Stena and DLHC had been in active discussions on the delivery of a seasonal service until recent days. The company now views the route as "unsustainable", however.

The company plans to consolidate its services to and from Holyhead, and to expand its existing ferry service, at Dublin Port.

The importance of the passenger service business to Dun Laoghaire has declined in the past decade, and in particular over the past five years, where the service has been reduced to a seasonal operation.

By 2014, passenger numbers had declined to 141,652 compared with 1,719,853 passengers in 1998, according to the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company (DLHC).

“The economic realities of the current situation in relation to our business levels have left us with no choice but to close the service," Davies said.

DLHC is now seeking alternative providers for a seasonal service. It is hoped that the replacement service will be in place for 2016.

DLHC has also been targeting cruise business in recent years, and hopes to attract upwards of 100,000 cruise passengers and crew to the town this summer.

Such visitors will spend €7 million in Dun Laoghaire in 2015, it says.

"This will more than make up for any loss of revenue to the local businesses from ferry passengers," according to the company.

Last month, however, local businesses said that the ending of Stena Line ferry services between the town and Hollyhead would be an "absolute disaster".

A ferry service has been running between the ports since 1835.

DLHC does not envisage job losses in the harbour, due to new commercial activities including the growing cruise business and the proposed Urban Beach.

A planning application under the Strategic Infrastructure Development Act for a new cruise berth for ‘next generation’ cruise ships will be submitted in the coming weeks to An Bord Pleanála.

Gerry Dunne CEO of the DLCH told RTE Radio 1 this afternoon that they had been in discussions with Stella "for a so-called fast craft" for the new cruise business.

"Stella were unable to provide the appropriate vessel... we have now gone out on a tender notice," he said.

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